Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SRLA 18 Mile Friedship Run Race Report


The SRLA Friendship Run is a yearly race held mostly for the kids of SRLA but the public is welcome as well and it is the qualifier for the kids to be able to run the LA Marathon. I decided that this would be a good test to see if my injury was healing and I was able to run 18 miles, pain free. This would be the longest distance that I have ever run and a jump from my longest post injury run of 10 miles.

I arrived at Hansen Dam around 6:15am and headed over to register. I got my bib and headed back to the car to gather my backpack. I wandered around looking for the Mt. Gleason Runners and their coach Craig. Once I found their tent, I found Chris and Craig and introduced myself. I have been following them on twitter for a while but this was the first time we actually met in person...a tweetup! While Craig was readying his kids for the run, Chris and I talked for a bit and did some stretching. Soon after, photographer, Rich Cruse came by and I was introduced to him and we talked cameras for a bit. After a few photos and a pep talk from Coach Craig, I made my way to the starting line.

The race started right at 8am and the crowd shuffled forward to the starting line. We headed out of the park and onto the surrounding streets. About 3/4 mile in, I could feel the pace was a bit fast...Mile 1 - 9:20. I kept trying to dial back the speed but just couldn't seem to slow down. Miles 2-7 I was averaging 9:30/mile, I was shooting for 10:30-11:00/mile pace. I finally was able to slow my pace around mile 8. Miles 8-12, average pace was 10:30/mile. I was feeling pretty good, there was no pain from the recent groin injury.

Midway through mile 13 is where the wheels fell off...I was tired, the bottom of my right foot was starting to hurt, almost like running on sandpaper. I had to walk for a bit, I tried to shake it off, downed another Gu with some Cytomax and continued on. I started to feel better miles 14 and 15 and was running a comfortable pace. I was starting to get the feeling of a cramp coming on in my left achilles and it was worse when I would slow to a walk. I took another Gu along with Gatorade and tried to start running again...my body didn't want to run. I walked for close to a half mile before running again. I continued that run/walk interval until the last half mile and then ran it across the finish. During the last 200 yards, I felt that my left calf and hamstring were getting ready to cramp...I could feel it coming on, fortunately, it never did. I got my medal, t shirt and some food and headed over to the Mt. Gleason tent where I chatted with Chris, Rich and Craig for a few minutes before heading home. Once home, I stood waist deep in my pool for about 10 minutes...did that feel good.

I learned a lot from this run and it has made me re-think some things, but at this point, I will try and run the LA Marathon. I found that I was dehydrated and although I was consuming Cytomax and Gatorade, I was short on electrolytes and will try S Caps, Endurolytes or Salt stick on my 20 mile run on Saturday. I also found that the socks I have been wearing are not really suitable for long distances...at least for me, so I will try some others with a bit more cushioning. The biggest thing that I learned...I need to slow my pace dramatically. I will work on that this weekend when I attempt to get a 20 mile run in.

Enough about me...let's talk about the kids and adult leaders in SRLA for a minute. Until Sunday, the only experience that I have had with SRLA kids is when I run past them during my training runs and occasionally see them at a local race. I have never said much more than hello or good morning in passing on the streets. During the race, I chatted with several kids and found them to be truly amazing. I saw one kid who was in a wheelchair, not a racing wheelchair, but a regular hospital type wheelchair pushing himself on the course. As I ran by, I gave him a thumbs up and said good job, he looked up, cracked a smile and kept on going. Many of the adult leaders were offering words of encouragement to the kids, helping them to keep focused on finishing. The volunteers were awesome as well...either working the water stations or the ones just there to cheer, it was all welcome and they deserve a big "Thank You". This is one race that I think I will try and add to my calendar for next year.

You can see all of Rich Cruse's Photos from the Friendship Run here.

Update: Final Results 3:20:44 (11:09/mile)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Enough About You...Let's Talk About Me Some More

This is Part II, you can read Part I here

Heroes, Role Models, Influences
When I was a kid my heroes were baseball players, I loved the game (not so much anymore) and felt that some of those players were great role models. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to meet some of my heroes and with the exception of Roy Campanella...none of them are/were worthy of hero status! Actors/Athletes/Musicians are not heroes or role models, the real heroes are the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces that fight to protect our freedom. Remember...Freedom isn't free and these men and women sacrifice alot for us and some give the ultimate sacrifice.

I had one person in my life that was a great role model for me...his name was Ken and he was my high school science and math teacher. He understood that high school was a very difficult time for a lot of teenagers and knew how to connect with us. I have often said that from the 4th grade through high school is the toughest time in a person's life, they are trying to figure out who they are, and what they want to be. Sometimes they just don't fit in, sometimes they become followers, instead of blazing their own path in life. Ken and I remained friends long after high school, we shared lots of things in common, trains (both real and model), music, and racquetball, which we played every week for 10 years. In 2008, Ken was diagnosed with prostate cancer that spread to his spine. He spent the last 6 months of his life in a convalescent home, he died in July 2008 at 61 years old. He lived his life as a loner, but that is how he wanted it and enjoyed it. My biggest regret is that at the end, I didn't push him to give me his sister or nieces full names and contact info. After he died, I took his laptop hoping to find their names and found nothing. To this day, 18 months later, they have no idea that he has passed. I have been working on it for 18 months and have hit many roadblocks as all I have to go on is first names. I have made it one of my goals in life to try and track them down and let them know, I hope I am able to complete this task.

Today I am influenced and inspired by a great number of people. Some are friends, some are family, some are people that I read their blogs, some are those I have never met and may never meet but they have all shaped me in some form or another. I try to find inspiration from the people I deal with on an everyday basis...if you look hard enough, you will find it. I was recently re-watching the Ironman World Championships (I keep them on the DVR for inspiration) and two people stood out as inspirational...Jon Blais, the first person with ALS to complete an Ironman and Rudy Garcia-Tolson, the first double amputee above the knee to complete the race. These people are amazing!

A Few years ago, I started living my life with goals in mind. My main goal is to be the best husband, father, son, brother, and friend to the people in my life. I have both short term and long term goals as well. Short term, I want to finish the LA Marathon, complete 5 triathlons this year including Malibu and the LA Triathlon (Olympic distance). I also want to start giving back...instead of writing checks, I want to volunteer my time and hopefully to a cause that has to do with athletics. My long term goals are to complete both a 1/2 and full Ironman race.

Why I Blog...
I enjoy sharing my experiences with you, the reader. To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies, Van Wilder,"Inspire the Uninspired." If I can inspire just one person, then it is all worth it.

**Most of this post was written last week. Yesterday I ran the SRLA 18 mile Friendship Run and was fortunate enough to meet some very inspiring kids and some great adult leaders. I will post more on that in my coming race report.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday Night Fun Run

Thursday nights are the highlight of my training week, as I head over to A Runner's Circle for the Thursday night "Fun Run" through Griffith Park. About 2 years ago I started running with them on Thursday nights as a way to break up the monotony of training by myself. At first there were a handful of people every week and since has grown into quite the crowd, averaging 20-25 runners each week. There is a 5 mile and a 3 mile run and there are pace groups for all ranges of paces. Last night the store was hopping...in addition to the Fun Run, there was a Team in Training shoe clinic, "The Pain Eraser" who helped alleviate pain through massage and pressure points, and a representative from Accelerade/Forze was sampling both Accelerade and Forze GPS bars.

Here is a link to pictures of last nights event.

I had a nice, easy run with my running partner, Melissa and our friend and San Diego Rock n Roll relay teammate Ann (See Below). We kept a real slow pace and talked and laughed most of the way. Couldn't think of a better way to knock off 6 miles! Final stats: 6 miles in 1:15 (12:30/mi)

If you are interested in joining us for the Thursday Night Fun Run, come on over to A Runner's Circle, we start at 6pm...everyone is welcome!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Enough About You...Let's Talk About Me!

I have been reading quite a few blogs for several years now and the one thing I have noticed is there is not a lot of information about the writer. Usually there is a small profile blurb, but you don't really get to know the person. I am often wondering what the back story is on a person and how or why did they get to this point in their lives. Sometimes it takes months or years of reading a person's blog to get some of that information, so I thought I would share a bit about myself with you.
About Me
My name is Bob and I am 42 years old, I live in Northridge, Ca, which is a suburb of Los Angeles.You may have heard of my city as we had a 6.7 earthquake in 1994 that was a life-changing experience for all of us. I have been married to my wonderful wife Tina, for almost 15 years (20 together) and we have two kids, Nicole (26) who was recently married and Ryan (24), a college student.

I know, I know...if you start doing the math, it appears I was a pretty active teenager. Truth is, they are step kids, but since I don't really care for the term "step", I just call them my kids and have since day 1. I sell dental supplies and equipment and have been selling for the same company for almost 20 years. I am fortunate to have some great customers and we are surviving this economic downturn, together.

Interests and Hobbies
I have had a passion for music since I was a child, I started playing the guitar at age 10 and progressed to piano, bass, and drums (parents didn't really care for the drums...wonder why). In college I took a couple of recording engineering classes and I am pretty proficient around a mixing board. My dream at one time was to score for movies an TV, but it is a very tough business to get into. I have written hundreds of "snippets" (short segments of music) that could be used to aurally fill a scene. I have had a couple of pieces used as bumper music in podcasts. I still write record and play when ever I get the chance.

I also have a love for cars...especially my 1969 Chevy Camaro convertible that I have been working on a ground up restoration for the last few years. When I started this project I didn't know much about a complete restoration, but I went and took automotive classes along with welding classes. I am a certified welder in Mig, Tig, and Oxy Fuel and I love burning two pieces of metal together! I have recently renewed my interest in photography and I am particularly interested in sports photography.

Why I Got Started with Running
In 2005, I was 240 pounds and not happy about the way I looked and felt. For years I played baseball/softball and racquetball, but I had given up all of that and was packing on pounds at a rapid rate. I decided to try Weight Watchers after seeing my wife's success using the program. I started on the "points" system and soon realized I was eating way too much. After an adjustment period, I settled in and started losing some weight. I knew that to break through the plateau I was at I would have to incorporate some exercise into the routine. I started walking on a treadmill 3 x a week, then progressed to a jog and finally a run. I have always hated running and it probably stems from a bad PE class in elementary school where our punishment was to run laps. In two years I took off 25 lbs using the Weight Watchers, walking/running plan. (I have since shed another 10 lbs and would like to drop another 10lbs by years end.) In 2007, my wife said she wanted to walk the Disneyland Half Marathon, so I decided that would be a good challenge for me. I started running outside and for the first 2 months, I couldn't run 1/2 mile without walking and I started to question my ability to run 13.1 miles. I got tips from my aunt (multi time finisher of the LA Marathon) and a neighbor who was an avid runner. In September 2007, I started and finished the Disneyland Half marathon( See below) in 2:41:31, wearing the wrong shoes and cotton shorts and shirt. ( I didn't know better) Something funny happened...I enjoyed running, and wanted to do it again. I spent the next year increasing my mileage, got the proper shoes and apparel, and improved my running techniques. I ran my second half marathon in September 2008 (Disneyland HM) in 2:13:30. Since that time I have run 5 more half marathons, numerous 5 and 10K races and ventured into the world of triathlon. I have since gone sub 2 hours in a half marathon.

I think I will make this a two part post so you don't get too bored. Part II will include my heroes, role models and influences along with my goals for the future.
Stay Tuned...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Finally Listened!

I have been accused of not listening in the past...it started when I was young and it got me a lot of time in the corner, detention, and occasionally the Principal's office. Later in life, it got me in the "dog house" but in recent years, I learned to listen more, except to my own body. I would often just push though the pain and take care of it later with an "Advil/Aleve" cocktail. Last year, I had an IT Band issue in my left leg. Although I rested for two weeks, I started running before I should have. I was addicted to running and didn't care what my body was saying...I wanted to be out running.

This latest injury (groin pull) is pretty serious. I did take two weeks off and did absolutely nothing at all. Week 3, I started swimming and week 4, I did two runs totally 11 miles. This last week I ran 8.42 miles on Thursday at a pace that was too fast and Saturday, I did 10.21 miles at a much slower pace. Since I didn't have my running partner with me to tell me to slow down, I made up a wristband that said "SLOW DOWN - RP" and every time I looked at it, I heard her voice telling me to slow down. I must say that it worked. I still cant figure out why it is so hard to run slower.

Around mile 6, I started to notice a "hot spot" developing on my right foot. After a brief potty stop at LA Fitness, I had to make a decision...continue to go for 12 miles or turn left and call it at 10 miles. The old me, would have just pushed on for 12 miles, but the new me decided to turn left and just do 10 miles, knowing in the back of my head, I have the SRLA 18 mile run next Sunday and that is my test to see if I will be able to run the LA Marathon. Once I got home, I stood waist deep in my 50 degree pool for about 10 minutes, once you get over the shock of the cold, it actually felt pretty good. I had scheduled a 6 mile run for today, but this morning when I woke up, my legs felt heavy and sore, so I decided to make today another rest day. (See...I'm learning!) This coming week will see a lot of time in the pool, 4 days to be exact with a run on Thursday night with the group and Sunday's 18 miler to finish off the week.

On a side note, Saturday afternoon was very productive...I started working on a rack to hang all of my medals. I got tired of seeing them hang on the corner of a bookcase in my office. I made an initial design, got out the saws and router table and went to work. I hope to paint it today and have pictures later in the week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slow and Easy....NOT!

After today's marathon driving session (9 hours) to San Diego and back to see some clients and check in with our office down there, I decided to head out for a "slow and easy" 8 mile run. I grabbed my gear and headed out the door. The first thing I noticed was that I didn't feel tight at all as I had in my previous two runs, but I felt and my garmin confirmed it...I was going too fast. In the back of my head, I heard my RP's voice telling me to slow down, but my brain and my legs weren't talking. By Mile 5, I started to slow down a bit and kept that slower pace through Mile 8. I started to get a bit tired at mile 7 and was fading fast at mile 8, but pushed through to get home. When it was all said and done...8.42 Miles in 1:25:59 (10:12/mi pace). Friday is a rest day and Saturday I will attempt 10-12 miles.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Things are looking up...sort of.

After feeling so good after Thursday nights 5 mile run, I decided to take a crack at 10K on Sunday morning. This was the first time I had run on the streets around town in over a month and I must admit, it felt good to be back on the street running. I kept telling myself, "nice and easy" is what we want, since this was only the second run since my groin injury 3 weeks ago. I started out and like Thursday night, things were tight for the first mile or so. Things loosened up and I fell into the familiar grove of running. I looked down at my garmin and it said I was running a 9:03 pace. Whoa!!! I slowed to a walk...that was way too fast. I started running and settled into a slower pace. Miles 4, 5, 6 were 10:36, 10:52 and 10:14, better but not ideal. I finished 10K in 1:02:22 (10:03 pace), I was shooting for an average between 11:00 and 12:00 minutes per mile.

On the positive side...I felt really good afterward. I did a bit of stretching, used my "Stick" and the all to familiar...icing my groin. I am starting to feel a bit more positive on my chances of running the LA Marathon. I will run the SRLA Friendship 18 miler on February 21 and the Firecracker 10K on February 28. Somewhere/somehow, I am going to have to get at least one 20 mile run in before tapering for the marathon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Progress Report

After almost 3 weeks without running due to my groin injury, I decided that I would try a short, slow run to see if I could in fact continue training for the LA Marathon. All day Thursday as I was out calling on customers, I resisted the urge to run across a the street or jog through a parking lot. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to arrive. I couldn't wait for 5:30pm to come and when it did I headed right over to A Runner's Circle for the Thursday night Fun Run. Due to a hectic schedule in December, the holidays, my vacation and this injury, I hadn't run with the group since the first week of December and I missed it.

When I got there, I was talking with a few guys about the new ARC Tri Club and some of the new brands the store will be carrying in the near future. At 6:15pm the group took off. My running partner, Melissa, and I started out really slow, which was good since I didn't know how my body was going to act or react to running. I felt a bit tight at first but after a short while, things seemed to loosen up. When we got to the 3 mile loop turn, we decided to go for the full 5 miles. We kept a nice easy pace through out and finished in 1:05:32 (13:05/mile) I didn't think I have ever run that slow, but it felt good. After chatting with some fellow runners, I headed home to use my new Stick and iced down for a while.

I am going to swim on Saturday due the rain that we are experiencing here in Los Angeles and I will try another slow, easy run on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swim, Bike...No Run

I am continuing to make progress with my groin injury. Last week, I decided to hit the pool and swim since I didn't really need to use my legs, although I did minimal kicking. After 1000 yards on Thursday, I went back on Saturday morning and up the yardage to 1650 yds (1 Mile in the water). I actually felt really good about the distance and wasn't all that tired afterwards. The doctor told me that if I could ride my bike pain free, then it would be OK to ride short distances at an easy pace. Sunday morning I headed out for a trial run...I used a relatively flat course through the northern part of the Valley. I found that the first 2 miles, my hip was a bit tight, but it loosened up after that. The good news is that all the miles were "pain free" and I was happy about that. I tried to keep the pace easy, but since it was my first time back on the streets in about a month, I decided to hammer it a bit for a couple of miles. Felt good but I was winded so I scaled back and leisurely rode the rest of the way back home. It was only 13 miles, but it gave me hope that I could possibly keep up my fitness level by biking and still be able to run the LA Marathon in 7 weeks.

Monday is usually a rest day for me but, I decided to hit the pool once again. I swam another 1650 yards and if I had a bit more time, I would have tried for 2000 yards, that is how good I felt. I started swimming back in April of last year and I could barely swim 2 lengths (25 yd) of the pool before I had to stop and rest. Over the summer, I decided to try out the 0-1650(mile) swim program and it didn't go as well as I thought. Actually, I never did finish that program, I started reading "Total Immersion Swimming" and started to use some of those drills which I think really helped my swimming. I am still far from where I want to be for swimming, but I am now more confident in the water.

Last night, I rode 30 minutes on the bike trainer in the garage. I did a few intervals to get the HR up, but I get soooo bored riding on the trainer. Today I am just going to do some stretching, core work and try a couple of yoga positions to see if I can loosen up my tight hip. Thursday is a big day for me...I am going to attempt a short, easy run with my group from A Runner's Circle. Hoping all goes well...I'll keep you posted.